The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

BEACON Ballfields Exclusive Weekly Tips ! ( August 2017)

August 14, 2017       |       BeaconAthletics.com        |       Ballfields.com

THIS WEEK’S FIELD TIP

Our first taste of late autumn chill has visited or soon will as renovation to ball fields hits a fevered pitch. The race is on to get field projects done before the colder winter weather sets in across much of the U.S.

In the north, we have a couple months before old man winter’s icy winds will begin to shut things down but down south there is still ample time to do renovation work to your fields provided there is a break in the scheduled use of the facilities.

With the renovations we have covered previously (Part 1, Part 2), your turf and infield skin should be in fine shape by now. We’ll wrap up post-season renovations by paying attention to the two areas on the ball field that see the bulk of the abusive wear — the mound and home plate areas.

Continue reading our article, Post-Season Renovation Part 3: Mound & Home Plate at Ballfields.com

Visit Ballfields.com frequently for tips & articles andGroundskeeperU.com for online training.

TUFFdeck On-Deck Circles — 10% OFF

Go ahead, use metal spikes. They sink in and wedge between the mini-coin pattern surface for added traction. PVC surface protects graphics. Durable surface cleans up easily with soap and water. Sold individually. Great for team branding or sponsorships. Exclusive TUFFdeck On-Deck Circles, use deck10 during checkout (offer valid thru August 20).

Varsity Hollywood Kwik-Release Double 1st Base — 10% OFF

IN STOCK: Ships within 24 hours! Double 1st Base release base disengages completely with enough impact. With a patented design that also compresses upon impact. Premium rubber construction won’t absorb water and repels dirt and is ultra durable. Exclusive Varsity Kwik-Release Double 1st Base, use kwik10 during checkout (offer valid thru August 20).

OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK

OPEN BOX Item — FieldShield Area Tarp, Weighted Hem — 25% OFF!   A great deal. No need for bags, pins, or weights. Made in the USA, high-quality mound covers and home plate tarps in two material weights. 18oz 10’D weighted hem tarp, royal blue. Like-new condition. FieldShield Area Tarp, Weighted Hem

ONLINE TRAINING for Staff & Volunteers

COMPLETELY FREE & MOBILE FRIENDLY. We’ve relaunched the web’s premier online field maintenance training tool, Groundskeeper University. Our goal is to bring professional training directly to you and your staff. But that means it has to be done right. Learn the tried & true practices of the pros. Our dedicated online resources by groundskeepers for groundskeepers are available in whichever format works for you: blog articles, online field dimensions, innovative products and training at Groundskeeper U. Whatever you need for your ballfield, think Beacon. 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

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Family First SPORTSPARK, in Erie, PA plans to be revealed Tuesday !

Donors will be sought to aid the redevelopment of Family First Sports Park.

It’s been almost three years since he introduced plans to reinvent the Family First Sports Park complex in Summit Township, but Erie lawyer and youth hockey coach Robert Catalde said that plan is alive and well.

On Tuesday, members of Greater Regional Erie Athletic Team Training, the nonprofit formed by Catalde to lead redevelopment efforts, will hold a news conference with officials from Summit Township and the consulting firm Rink Management Services, which G.R.E.A.T.T. has hired to manage and operate the facility.

That night, Catalde and others will make a pitch to prospective donors as part of a capital campaign. Additional phases are contingent on funding.

There is no timetable for the project, but Catalde, equipped with an economic impact study and some financing, now has more detailed plans for what the first phase will entail. He also has about $8.5 million of funding in place for the first phase, which has a $9.1 million price tag.

That preliminary funding includes several substantial contributions, loans and about $3.5 million in public funds, specifically $3 million from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, which was issued in 2016, and $520,000 from the Summit Township Industrial Economic Development Authority.

Ultimately, Catalde said, debt would make up less than half of the $9.1 million needed to relaunch the facility.

The first phase would cover the following:

‒ The purchase of about 43 acres of property from owner Glen Renaud.

‒ Replacement of two soccer fields inside the fieldhouse with two NHL-sized ice pads and proper dehumidification equipment.

‒ Renovation of eight dressing rooms for athletes and two for referees.

‒ Resurfacing of existing basketball and volleyball courts.

‒ Renovation of the complex’s dome for a new turfed training facility.

‒ Replacing a miniature golf course and two-tier driving range in the dome with a single-lane, floor-level driving range.

‒ Installation of a full-sized turfed field for soccer and lacrosse, as well as two turfed training areas.

‒ Grass soccer and lacrosse fields outside the complex would be restored.

Catalde stressed during a meeting with the Erie Times-News Editorial Board Thursday that the facility will be improved for athletes of all sports, not just hockey. However, he believes Erie has the potential to be a “mecca” for hockey in the region.

Noting the distance many youth hockey teams travel for tournaments and practice — places like Meadville; Mentor, Ohio; and Fredonia and Jamestown in New York — there’s enough need to justify the improvements, he said, adding that rinks in Erie have either closed in recent years, or are in need of repair.

“It’s not uncommon for 60 kids to be on one pad for an hour,” during Erie Youth Hockey Association practices at JMC Ice Arena in Erie, noted Catalde, who began a push three years ago for a new facility for youth hockey.

Family First, which opened to the public in 1994, has been owned by the Renaud family since the beginning.

But the facility needs to be renovated because Erie is missing out on sports tournaments and other events that would stimulate the local economy, said Ron Sertz, executive director of the Erie Sports Commission.

Catalde said Family First is “perfectly” located south of Interstate 90 and near hotels, restaurants and retailers that would attract families. It’s also properly sized.

“We wanted to create a facility that hits the sweet spot, where it’s big enough where we can offer the space for tournaments to come in,” he said, “but it’s small enough that at the times where we don’t have tournaments the place isn’t half empty.”

Catalde has been mum about the project in recent months, in part because of a confidentiality agreement between G.R.E.A.T.T. and Renaud that was in place for a year and a half. He said that has kept him from generating community support.

Sertz said G.R.E.A.T.T. has “100 percent” backing from the sports commission. He believes it will be a boon for the local economy. One economic impact study shows that the project could create 140 jobs and have a one-year economic impact of $27.7 million. Catalde said that it would create positive cash flow after the first year of operations.

“We know there are other national and state competitions that can go there if we market the place,” Sertz said. “We can bring people in.”

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It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
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Tourism officials continue negotiations to lower cost of new sports park !

multi_sports_fields#2

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – In June, we told you about the costof a new sports park slated for Panama City Beach. City leaders said it was way out of the ball park coming in at $20-million over what the city wanted to pay.

Thursday, tourism officials talked about getting that cost down by sacrificing some amenities but adding others.

The Bay County Tourist Development Council and the Sports Facilities Advisory staff gathered at the Panama City Beach City Hall Thursday, to go over plans for the new park.

“We are continuing to work with Phoenix Construction on negotiating the contract for the sports field and stadium complex… Because we’re really focused on how do we get the best product at the best price,” President of Visit Panama City Beach, Dan Rowe said.

Tourism officials also said they’ve cut out some restaurants, put in concession stands and reoriented some of the fields to lower the total cost, but to generate more revenue, they’re considering adding an indoor sports facility.

“If we add that new component, we would increase the efficiency in the level of use by the project by about 50%, which over a 15 year time frame would generate about 1.5 million room nights a business as a total of visitor spending of $600-million, total economic impact of over a billion dollars,” Rowe said.

Tourism officials said the indoor facility will be more inclusive to sports like cheerleading, gymnastics, and others that compete inside.

“There are 19 different sports that can be run in the indoor complex and on the outdoor, soccer, lacrosse, football, flag football, rugby, ultimate frisbee, there are 9 or 10 different sports that can be run there,” Sports Facilities Advisory representative, Evan Eleff said.

But how will all this be paid for be paid for ?

“The TDC has approved and the county has agreed to borrow up to $30-million for 15 years for this project. But we believe by going out to Triumph Gulf Coast and other contributions that have been made in terms of the land, the development that’s gone into it, some of the intersection improvements, that at the end of the day, we will be able to build the entire project for less than the $30-million of the TDC’s money,” Rowe said.

The 13 field park will be located on the east end of the beach, near the intersection of Back Beach and Cauley Avenue.

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It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
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New food at Paul Brown Stadium In Cincinnati !

snow_cones

CINCINNATI (OH) – Bengals games just got even better !

A new food lineup, among other enhancements, is coming to Paul Brown Stadium.

Enhancements include a new retail store, stadium graphics and walk-through metal detectors at all entrances, according to a release from the Cincinnati Bengals.

Aramark, the Bengals food service provider, will introduce new food options, including specialty burgers, hot dogs and tator tots among a number of other new food items. 

Concession prices for existing items will not change from last season. 

“Shop 102,” a game day retail store, will open on the southwest Plaza Level, between gates E and A. The store will feature apparel, headwear and accessories for all ages. 

In addition, new graphics will celebrate the Bengals’ 50th season. The 50th season logo and former head coach Sam Wynche’s famous quote, “You live in Cincinnati” are featured in various locations throughout the stadium.

Walk-through metal detectors have been installed at every entrance to the stadium as well. 

These magnetometers will require fan to remove all large metal objects from their pockets before walking through.

These enhancements will be seen and used by the start of the regular season. 

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It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

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New Data Ranks Food Safety at America’s Baseball Stadiums !

Italian_Sausage_Sandwich

Are hot foods served at America’s beloved baseball stadiums safe to eat? Sports Illustrated gathered data from 28 local public inspection records (the most recent available) throughout the U.S. and Canada for Major League Baseball venues. Some of the findings are as follows:

Top 3 Venues According to Safety Records:

  1. Safeco Field (Seattle, WA) – “Stellar condition” with just 5 total violations, 1 of them critical. A historical look at Safeco’s records show consistently acceptable food safety practices.
  2. Fenway Park (Boston, MA) – 30 total violations, 2 of them critical. The stadium was cited for a dirty ice machine and a broken dishwasher. However, Fenway’s most recent health inspection was performed at a time when inspected stands were not actively serving food to the public.
  3. Minute Maid Park (Houston, TX) – 28 total violations, 9 of them critical. In Houston, most of the negative marks were due to “structural deficiencies” found in the stadium itself. Also, one concession stand was reusing popcorn buckets.

Bottom 3 Venues According to Safety Records:

  1. Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg, FL) – 241 total violations, 105 of them critical. The home of the Tampa Bay Rays was cited for a plethora of food safety hazards–live insects, ice bins with black mold growth, and employees not washing hands in between handling food and cash.
  2. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland, CA) – 131 total violations, 63 of them critical. Health inspectors found vermin, food kept at unsafe temperatures and handwashing facilities in ill repair.
  3. Oriole Park (Baltimore, MD) – 264 total violations, 15 of them critical. However, since inspectors looked at Oriole Park before baseball season began, violations were not related to any food items since they were not being served at the time. Issues were related to poor access to hot water for handwashing, and rodent infestations at multiple concession stands. Other food areas had expired licenses for selling food.

Public health records requests for some stadiums (Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH and Comerica Park in Detroit, MI) were not granted.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

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BEACON Ballfields Exclusive Weekly Tips ! ( August 2017)

August 7, 2017       |       BeaconAthletics.com        |       Ballfields.com

THIS WEEK’S FIELD TIP

It’s August and daylight is on the wane. The sun is coming up later and setting earlier. We are beginning to see a cool night make an appearance on occasion. And many baseball and softball seasons have wrapped up for the year. There will be some fall ball seasons played but football season will take the lead by the end of the month. That means many ball fields are done for the season so it’s time to get to it and get those fields ready for next spring.

Last week we talked about getting the grass back into shape after the season as well as dealing with any lip issues that may have developed during the season. Now, we move to the infield skin itself.

This time of year is the best time to do any renovation on the infield skin whether it is minor or major. You have plenty of time to work on it without the threat of an opening day deadline and still plenty of favorable weather and soil moisture conditions.

Continue reading our article, Post-Season Renovation Part 2: The Infield Skin at Ballfields.com

Visit Ballfields.com frequently for tips & articles andGroundskeeperU.com for online training.

Infield Soil Test & Analysis — 10% OFF

You must first know what you are working with, otherwise you’re just guessing. Soil testing provides quantitative data to help to identify the shortcomings of an infield mix. And with proper analysis, a solution can be found to make sure your infield is as good and playable as it can be. Results may take up to two weeks. Price is per sample. Exclusive Beacon’s Infield Soil Test & Analysis, use test10 during checkout (offer valid thru August 13).

Pro Cord String Winder — 10% OFF

IN STOCK: Ships within 24 hours! It’s strong, but still stretchy enough to really snap a straight line. The 500 ft of high-strength, braided cotton string line is thicker for higher visibility and will stretch so you can really snap to get the straightest line possible. Exclusive Pro Cord String Winder, use cord10 during checkout (offer valid thru August 13).

OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK

OPEN BOX Item — Softball Batting Cage Net — SAVE NEARLY 60%!   Amazing value. This is our Standard Batting Cage Net which is held to the strictest quality standards. This softball-sized net (55′) is used and repaired. It features hems and grommets on all sides with a door flap. Used condition. Softball Batting Cage Net

ONLINE TRAINING for Staff & Volunteers

COMPLETELY FREE & MOBILE FRIENDLY. We’ve relaunched the web’s premier online field maintenance training tool, Groundskeeper University. Our goal is to bring professional training directly to you and your staff. But that means it has to be done right. Learn the tried & true practices of the pros. Our dedicated online resources by groundskeepers for groundskeepers are available in whichever format works for you: blog articles, online field dimensions, innovative products and training at Groundskeeper U. Whatever you need for your ballfield, think Beacon. 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

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Irvine, CA. to Open New 53-Acre Sports Park the size of Disneyland !

Developers are ultimately planning a sports park that will be nearly twice the size of Disneyland.

Irvine to Open 53-Acre Sports Park
KNBC-TV
The city of Irvine, CA. is set to open a 53-acre sports park featuring soccer fields, tennis courts and other amenities on Saturday, August 5, 2017.

A new soccer stadium, tennis courts and other amenities will open to the public Saturday at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine.

A grand opening celebration for the 53-acre sports park will include various activities, gourmet food trucks and a free concert by the Blues Brothers featuring Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi. Celebrations begin Saturday at 2 p.m. and end at 9 p.m.

Developers are ultimately planning a sports park that will be nearly twice the size of Disneyland. The developer, FivePoint, will spend about $250 million to improve and operate the 688 acres of the Orange County Great Park.

The first phase of the developer’s partnership with the city of Irvine is the youth sports facility. Officials will show off a new soccer stadium that can hold as many as 5,000 fans.

The stadium will also be used for other sports activities, graduations and community events, officials said.

Guests today will also get their first look at 25 hard-surface tennis courts, six natural-turf soccer fields and five sand volleyball courts. There’s also a one-acre playground for children.

The sports park will eventually be 175 acres and include a softball complex with five diamonds, a stadium and four batting cages; a baseball complex with seven baseball diamonds, a stadium and four batting cages; four basketball courts, six more soccer fields and “flex” fields that will be home to soccer, rugby, cricket and lacrosse teams.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

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BEACON Ballfields Exclusive Weekly Tips ! ( July ’17 )

July 31, 2017       |       BeaconAthletics.com        |       Ballfields.com

THIS WEEK’S FIELD TIP

July is the so-called “Dog Days” of summer, yet many youth, high school and adult baseball and softball seasons are nearing their end for the year. Now is the time to begin strategizing what renovations and improvements to make to those fields in the next few months in preparation for next season.

A good groundskeeper will put their ballfields to bed ready to go for the following season. Even those whose facilities host a fall ball season will typically get a period of a couple weeks or more of inactivity before the fall season starts up. Late summer and fall offer the best opportunity to make improvements to these ballfields because of the lack of on-field activity and typically drier weather patterns. Over the next several weeks, we’ll talk about the renovation period for ballfields and make recommendations for the types of projects that should be performed during this renovation window available. Continue reading our article, Post-Season Renovation Part 1: Plan Now at Ballfields.com

Visit Ballfields.com frequently for tips & articles andGroundskeeperU.com for online training.

Bulldog Pitching Rubber — 10% OFF

IN STOCK: Ships within 24 hours! This is the best pitching rubber ever. You’ll flip for the Bulldog — literally. With a 3 in core center and 40 lbs of rubber — yes, FORTY POUNDS! — you get maximum durability and performance (2 in & 14 lbs for youth). When you need to, just flip the rubber to another side and you have even more long-lasting performance. Exclusive Bulldog Field Equipment Pitching Rubber, use bull10 during checkout (offer valid thru August 6).

Infield Edger — 10% OFF

IN STOCK: Ships within 24 hours! Heavy-duty steel frame with oak handle. Extra sharp steel blade. 6″ or 12″ blade. Exclusive Infield Edger, use edge10 during checkout (offer valid thru August 6).

OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK

OPEN BOX Item — 6’W Pro Rigid Steel Mat Drag — SAVE $65!   Designed by our head groundskeeper. Former Baltimore Orioles head groundskeeper Paul Zwaska designed, tested and perfected our Pro Rigid Steel Mat Drag. Slightly-used condition. 6’W Pro Rigid Steel Mat Drag

ONLINE TRAINING for Staff & Volunteers

COMPLETELY FREE & MOBILE FRIENDLY. We’ve relaunched the web’s premier online field maintenance training tool, Groundskeeper University. Our goal is to bring professional training directly to you and your staff. But that means it has to be done right. Learn the tried & true practices of the pros. Our dedicated online resources by groundskeepers for groundskeepers are available in whichever format works for you: blog articles, online field dimensions, innovative products and training at Groundskeeper U. Whatever you need for your ballfield, think Beacon. 

Visit Groundskeeper University!

Get the Ultimate Ballfield Resource…

If you need it for your field, you’ll find it here. Request your copy today. Our 2017 catalog is a complete listing of products to keep you rolling with everything you need all season long.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late – Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

SODA_AD_17
www.sadlersports.com/soda

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SODA Logo “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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BEACON Ballfields Exclusive Weekly Tips ! (July’17)

Who has the best ballpark food in Chicago, Cubs or Sox ?

Fans sitting in Wrigley Field‘s outfield bleacher section are bums no more. Sure, the goat-inflicted curse vanished after last year’s World Series win, so tickets now routinely top $70 for seats lacking backs or protection from the sun, but I’m talking about what you can eat. The bleacher section at Wrigley contains the best ballpark food in Chicago.

How can I be so sure? Just as we don’t know who will win Chicago’s Crosstown Classic (taking place Monday through July 27) until the Cubs and White Soxactually face off, I couldn’t just look at the menus and declare a winner. No, to decide who has the best ballpark food in Chicago, I had to actually visit each ballpark and eat as much as possible.

With some much needed help from co-worker and baseball fan Adam Lukach, I devoured essentially all of the concessions at the Cubs’ Wrigley Field and the White Sox’s Guaranteed Rate Field. I didn’t technically try every single item. I saw no need to waste time on the packaged snacks — like you need me to give you a serious review of Dippin’ Dots — and a number of the stands also serve the exact same dishes. So, no, I didn’t try a Vienna Beef hot dog from every single stand, but I did make room for every unique creation, which means I sampled over 100 different items. Lukach and I evaluated each dish based both on taste and how easy each was to eat while sitting and watching the game. (This also means that we avoided any restaurants in the parks where you can’t get the food and eat in your seats.)

If you haven’t been to a baseball game in 30 years, you might be shocked at what you can find at most concession stands. Gone are the days of choosing between peanuts and Cracker Jack. Now you can get filet mignon sandwiches and bison sausages, loaded baked potatoes and deep-dish pizza.

There may be, in fact, too many choices. What sounded like a fun excuse to watch baseball during work hours, turned into a forced march through vast sausage-stuffed and cheese-laden menus in the hot summer sun. Turns out, there’s a lot of bad ballpark food. Paying wildly inflated prices didn’t make the food taste any better. But there was no better way to see which park actually served the best food.

Before I began, the general consensus from co-workers, including Tribune restaurant critic and Cubs fan Phil Vettel, was that the White Sox’s Guaranteed Rate Field (and no, I can’t stand typing out that name either) had the better offerings. As a White Sox fan, I honestly kind of hoped that would be the case, too. It certainly has more of it. Walking around the lower concourse of the stadium, it’s hard to go more than 10 feet without bumping into a flashy food stall. I did find some worthy options at Guaranteed Rate, items I’d be more than happy to eat again. But the lows were really low.

The food at Wrigley Field was far more consistent in the main concourse, and dramatically better in the bleacher section. As Cubs fans probably know, those sitting in the bleacher section are allowed to access the main concourse of Wrigley, but not the other way around. You absolutely have to have a bleacher ticket to check out the food options in the bleacher section.

Wrigley bests Guaranteed Rate even when you exclude all of the chef specials at Wrigley’s Sheffield Counter, which includes a rotating menu from the likes of Rick Bayless, Stephanie Izard, Matthias Merges and others. Since the menu changes every few weeks, it didn’t make sense to include them here, because by the time this is published, there’d be another chef’s menu in its place.

As I stuffed my face full of sausages and molten cheese, I learned a few things about concessions at ballparks:

•Avoid anything served in an upturned plastic helmet. Sure, these gargantuan offerings look cool, but the food is inevitably messy and hilariously overpriced: $19 for nachos with unmelted cheese ?

•If it sounds too good to be true, it almost inevitably is. You can pick up a filet mignon sandwich at Wrigley Field, which sounds like some seriously gourmet ballpark food but also costs a shockingly high $17. The meat is tender, but it’s smothered in oily cheese and a sweet sauce. Save that money for an actual steak dinner at a normal restaurant.

•Avoid anything that’s pre-wrapped and under a heat lamp, especially burgers. At both Guaranteed Rate and Wrigley, these limp excuses for burgers looked haggard and spent.

•Just say no to the veggie burgers! I know you think they are the healthier option, but both options I tried were travesties I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

•Consider the messiness factor. Both stadiums serve Buona Italian beef, which is a totally solid option. But it’s still an Italian beef, which is one of the messiest sandwiches in the United States of America. Consuming one without staining your shirt is an heroic act.

SMACKDOWN

Enough rules. Let’s get back to the competition. We already know Wrigley Field won the overall championship title, but let’s break down the specific performances into categories of five go-to ball game foods. Each winner is followed by numbers that correspond to the sections in the stadium where you can find the food.